A very popular build for the Necromancer is the Bonemancer. This normally involves dumping most of the skill points gained into bone spells, with limited summon capability.
Bonemancers will find some elements of play difficult, as they are an abnormal form of a caster. Although there is a distinct advantage to having non-elemental magic damage, the spells take quite a while to gain potency when soloing. At higher levels and with improving gear, however, the bonemancer will become quite powerful - especially in player versus player.
There is slight controversy as to whether to use Bone Spear or Bone Spirit (bone spear pierces enemies, flies faster and costs less mana, while the spirit deals slightly more damage and is homing at skill level 20 (at higher levels Spear does more damage than Spirit). Most opt for Bone Spear, as the spirit drains mana reserves very quickly, and a higher level can be achieved with the White Rune Word.
The skill settings for a Bonemancer can vary somewhat depending on gear and personal preference - some will want to max damage alone, though most will want some curses too. Lastly, some also choose to put a point in Clay Golem and its synergies, due to the fact that it makes a great tank, both for player versus player and player versus monster (it's highly recommended to at least put one point in it). Some Hardcore players (or people who want to play very safe) even opt to take points in Revive for the same reason.
The build is unique in that each offensive skill has no less than four synergies, not including the skill itself, so a fully synergized bonemancer is extremely rare.
- Bone Spear
- Bone Spirit
- 1 point to get desired Curses (most will do with just amplify damage, or even nothing if using a specialized White Rune Word wand with points in curses).
- 1 point for Clay Golem (and possibly one in each synergy - this is also possible to achieve, at least partially, through the White Rune Word as above)
- The rest in Teeth, Bone Wall, and Bone Prison for synergies.
- Relevant points to achieve Revive. Revived creatures, especially nimble and flying ones, can act as effective fronts, keeping the Necromancer safe while dishing out damage. One point is usually sufficient, allowing +skills equipment to boost it to more effective levels.
Bonemancers, like most casters, will want mostly equipment that increase their total damage output through +skills. Due to the availability of the White Rune Word, it is possible to obtain a wand with +8 total to Bone Spear, along with a variety of other perks. But there are many choices in general, ranging from cheap to very costly. All items are listed top to bottom from the most to the least preferred (generally) though obviously, some will have different preferences or needs.
- White (Max damage)
- Heart of the Oak (More Faster Cast Rate and Resistances, less skills)
- Boneshade (More skills than HotO but less than White, less FCR than HotO and no resists)
- Wizardspike (Even more FCR and resists, no skills)
- Spirit Sword (+2 all skill - 25 to 35 FCR - 55 fast hit recovery - +vit + mana)
- Magefist (Faster cast rate, Mana Regeneration)
- Trang-Oul's Claws (Faster cast rate, +skills to curses)
- Frostburn (Larger mana pool)
- Spirit Rune Word (preferably in a Monarch)
- Lidless Wall
- A necromancer head with bonuses to Bone Spear/Spirit.
- Stone of Jordan (or Bul-Kathos' Wedding Band if you don't need the mana from soj)
- Faster Cast Rate rare or uncommon rings
- Mara's Kaleidoscope
- A Crafted/Rare/Magic amulet with +3 poison and bone skills, or +2 necromancer skills
As opposed to other necromancer variants that might choose a mercenary based on how they complement the additional minions, a Bonemancer is more concerned with his own safety and damage output. Therefore, choosing either a Holy Freeze or Defiance Act II Desert Mercenary, and equipping him with Insight is the common choice.
Others may opt for an Act III cold Iron Wolf, who will also keep enemies at bay.
Playing in a group Edit
If you are intending to play in groups often, allocating some points into curses might be very helpful, particularly Lower Resist, Amplify Damage and Life Tap. The first to complement casters, the latter two more directed at melee fighters. If it seems a heavy toll to pay skill point wise, you can always try to obtain a wand with the proper skills on it, and keep it on switch - or perhaps even implement it into your White Rune Word.
Lastly, bonemancers are used in Uber Tristram in special leveling groups to keep one of the uber bosses trapped in bone walls, while the rest of the team kills off the spawned minions. This gives high amounts of experience if executed correctly.
Maximum Damage SpearmancerEdit
This variant maxes out the unavoidable magic damage Bone Spear (or any Bone spell) can deal per second while providing substantially strong Revives that benefit from the Amplify Damage curse, as well as the Might, Concentration, and Thorns auras. This build also utilizes the high-level Bone Wall and Bone Prison spells by combining them with Iron Maiden and Thorns. A Clay Golem is employed to attract and slow enemies. Decrepify and Lower Resistance are also available without switching weapons. This build is both effective and versatile.
Stat Point AllocationEdit
Strength: Place no points here; use a belt, amulet, and rings to boost strength at onset of each game then switch back to usual gear once benefiting from Enigma's strength bonus.
Dexterity: If you take melee damage often, place points here.
Vitality: Everything (except that placed in Dexterity).
Energy: Place no points here; equipment will compensate.
Skill Point AllocationEdit
Corpse Explosion 1
Bone Spear 20
Bone Spirit 20
Bone Shield 1
Bone Wall 20
Bone Prison 20
Amplify Damage 1
Iron Maiden 1
Clay Golem 1
Golem Mastery 1
Summon Resist 1
Summon Skeleton or Blood Golem 1
Skeleton Mastery or Iron Golem 1
Revive (item granted)
Teleport (item granted)
Hydra (item granted)
+3 Bone Spear, +3 Skeleton Mastery, +1-3 Revive with White runeword. Skeleton Mastery mod can be replaced with +1-3 to Lower Resist or Decrepify, but this is unnecessary if using the Splendor shrunken head.
+3 Bone Spear, +1-3 Lower Resistance, +1-3 Decrepify with White runeword. This wand eliminates the ability to use Revive, and is unnecessary with the Splendor shrunken head.
Archon Plate with Enigma runeword
+3 Bone Spear, +1-3 Lower Resist, +1-3 Decrepify with Splendor runeword. It is necessary to have both the Magus circlet and Apprentice amulet to achieve the 90 FCR breakpoint with this head. Heavy Revive users may wish to replace a curse mod with Skeleton Mastery.
Darkforce Spawn with Scintillating Jewel of Knowledge. Allows 90 FCR breakpoint to be achieved if the Magus circlet and Apprentice amulet are unavailable, but Bone Spear loses 1-3 points while Decrepify and Lower Resist head mods are unavailable.
Homunculis upgraded to Bloodlord Skull with Ber or Zod if ethereal. Along with excellent blocking and defense benefits, +40 to Resistances allows the helm jewel to be replaced by a Ber rune, however, Bone Spear's rate of damage suffers while Decrepify and Lower Resist head mods are unavailable.
Necromancer's Great Wyrm's Prismatic Circlet of Magus with Scintillating Jewel of Knowledge
Harlequin Crest with Scintillating Jewel of Knowledge
Magefists (upgraded to Crusader Gauntlets)
Necromancer's Great Wyrm's Prismatic Circlet of the Apprentice
2 Stone of Jordans
Hellfire Torch; Annihilus; 6 Fungal Charms of Vita; 3 Fungal Charms of Balance; 9 Small Shimmering Charms of Vita; 1 Small Shimmering Charm of Balance
Max-Damage Revives Aura: Might. Equipment (preferably all ethereal): Sacred Armor with Bramble runeword; Andariel's Visage with Ber; War Pike with Pride runeword.
PVP Variant Aura: Defiance. Equipment (preferably all ethereal): Sacred Armor with Bramble or Fortitude runeword; Guilluames's Face with Realgarl Silver Shimmering Jewel of Virility (Virility necessary to equip Sacred Armor); War Pike with Doom runeword (or Infinity runeword to benefit Corpse Explosion in PVM)
Teleport close to an opponent then step away, placing your minion(s) between you; cast Amplify Damage once and attack with Bone Spear until a corpse is available for Corpse Explosion. Corpse Explosion can usually be removed from this progression in PVP.
Bone Wall can be used strategically with terrain, or be recast quickly to barricade an entire screen. Bone Prison can trap an enemy or group with a single cast, but an enemy must be present to cast it so cannot be used preemptively. Iron Maiden and Thorns is effective with both skills.
Clay Golems instantly attract even high-level monsters. They also have an abundance of Life, so benefit well from Iron Maiden and Thorns, and are sometimes useful to cast inside a Bone Prison.